Posts Tagged ‘government’

Jumping off the Federal Education Train

Nobody wants to contemplate jumping off a moving train, but the federal government’s takeover of education is driving state and local control right off a cliff.  In several past articles on this site I’ve tried to detail the grab of power the federal government is making. This article ( is perhaps the best summary article I can refer to which links to the components of this takeover involving standards, assessments, curriculum, database tracking, and changing of national laws on control of education.

In the past few days, I’ve received articles and insight from a few people that show the feds have become brazenly open in preparing to force states onto its plan.

From an article in the Orange County Register newspaper:

President Barrack Obama on Friday announced that states can opt out of the much-maligned federal accountability system if they agree to implement reforms that include tying teacher and principal evaluations to student test scores, enacting standards to prepare students for college and careers, and adopting national common education standards.

“The federal government really did not cut us a break with this waiver plan. All these reforms will cost schools money they just don’t have,” county Superintendent William Habermehl said. “The better solution would have been for Obama just to give states unconditional relief from NCLB for two or three years while they figure out how to fix the law.”

California’s willingness to even apply for the waivers also remains unclear. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has already expressed concern over the ability of the cash-strapped state to enact such sweeping reforms.

In other words, if you don’t want to deal with No Child Left Behind Annual Yearly Progress issues, just agree to sign onto the national plan to prepare our children for college and careers which includes CCSS, assessments, and tying school teacher and principal evaluations to those assessments.

The national database will naturally have to be part of this package to track teacher performance and it appears from this article in the NY Post that it was funded in the 2009 stimulus bill.

Under regulations the Obama Department of Education released this month, these scenarios could become reality. The department has taken a giant step toward creating a de facto national student database that will track students by their personal information from preschool through career. Although current federal law prohibits this, the department decided to ignore Congress and, in effect, rewrite the law. Student privacy and parental authority will suffer.

How did it happen? Buried within the enormous 2009 stimulus bill were provisions encouraging states to develop data systems for collecting copious information on public-school kids. To qualify for stimulus money, states had to agree to build such systems according to federally dictated standards. So all 50 states either now maintain or are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students.

The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience.

The feds are putting states on the ropes. If you want federal funding, you either comply with AYP and impossible growth targets, or they’ll grant you a waiver for NCLB if you adopt the Common Core package which includes everything including assessments and database tracking of our children.

There is only one solution I see. Utah needs to save about 10% of its education spending and get off the federal train. Without pretty drastic action, we’re going to have state and local educators whose sole function is an administrative check to make sure everyone is complying with federal mandates on curriculum, standards, assessments, and database reporting. Don’t worry, Washington D.C. is full of people who are confident in their ability to tell you what your child needs in the way of education.

Here’s a great little analogy on the benefits of local control.

How much longer can you have a garden?

Think your garden fresh veggies are safe? The Nevada Health Department may beg to differ. This will make your blood boil.

Thankfully some good Utah legislators are working to try and ensure this won’t happen here.

Should the Government Stop Dumping Money into a Giant Hole?

And you thought “The Onion” only did fake news stories…

Patriot Camp 2011 – Republic vs. Democracy

I was invited to present on the topic of Republic vs. Democracy at Patriot Camp last week and it was a lot of fun. There were 6 groups of children moving through the camp and on my day we started with those going into 6th grade in my first session down to those going into 1st grade in the last. The children were great and seemed to have a good time and actually learn something.

The funniest line of the day was when I announced the topic, a little boy of perhaps 9 years old muttered, “I haaaaate that word” (democracy). Another funny line from a child was when at the end of each session we were choosing to elect 2 representatives. One had a platform of giving everyone free ice cream and the other says I’ll let you keep your money and buy your own ice cream. I asked the children, “what would be a good question to ask the candidates.” The older children came up with the right question very quickly, “how are you going to pay for the ice cream?” But in one younger group, when I asked the question, one child said, “is your ice cream organic?”

We were all pleasantly surprised that even the children going into 1st grade were able to figure out which candidate to vote for. They all wanted free ice cream until they figured out the candidate would tax them to give them the ice cream. This showed that children are quite capable of learning basic principles and making decisions even at a really young age.

The Two Party System

Clever little video.

The Questions We Need to Remember

Which is greater, you or government? Who created whom? Where did government get its rights? Are they unalienable or temporal? To the LDS, D&C 134, a statement on government, says that God instituted government for the benefit of man and that we should respect and uphold the government while we are protected in our inherent and inalienable rights.

So who has rights? We do as children of God. In fact, as Mary Mostert pointed out in her books on the founding of this country, we have unalienable rights. When Jefferson presented his draft of the Declaration of Independence, he used the word inalienable, but the committee changed it to unalienable. What’s the difference? Mary points out that both mean we have rights that cannot be taken from us, ever. The difference though is that “un” alienable means the rights cannot even be transferred by us, while “in” alienable means we could transfer those rights to someone else. Rights from God to us cannot be cast aside.

Does government have rights? No, it has powers. Can those powers exceed our natural, unalienable rights? Never, because government’s powers are derived from our delegated rights.

Are you smarter than all your neighbors? Well, besides that one family down the street… ;) How about smarter than all your neighbors combined? Do you know anyone that thinks they are? Of course we all do, and far too many of those people become politicians. Who is best qualified to know the needs of a child? The parents of course. Empowering parents in their God-given role as the head of the family is the only morally right thing to do. Allowing them the maximum freedom to determine what is best for their children’s education, health, and all other activities, is the only God-approved course we can follow.

Government exists to provide for the safety, security, and happiness of the people. It exists to protect our unalienable rights. I cannot create a mob of people and send them out to murder and steal and provide myself and my neighbors with the goods the mob captures. Government cannot legally do this either simply because we call it government instead of a mob. Frederick Bastiat pointed out this is what government’s devolve into and we legalize plunder causing a moral imbalance in people who recognize the injustice on the one hand, but recognizing the need to respect government on the other. This imbalance leads to frustration and disgust with the process of government. The only solution is freedom. Freedom to fail. Freedom to watch your neighbor fail to educate their children (according to your own perspective). Freedom to choose a course of life that doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s life and thus maximize your own freedom by staying within the bounds of natural rights. None of this means government or schools completely go away, it just means they operate within their bounds. That question then leads to, “where’s the line America?

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

Government Gone Wild and Food Storage

This video is encouraging…NOT. Does anyone really think we’ll last 10 more years? How’s your food storage? A few months ago I sent an email out to my email list but I guess I should have posted it here. I watched the segment on Glenn Beck last year that showed food prices skyrocketing as a result of inflationary forces that would affect our nation. Glenn was advertising for Daily Bread on his radio show so I called them up and a local rep came by to let me sample some food. They sell freeze dried meals that you just add hot water to and in a few minutes they’re ready to eat as if you’d made them fresh. The food was really good so we ordered a 3 month supply to supplement our current food storage which is mostly comprised of individual foods that you would have to prepare in a meal. Now we have meals that you just add water to, and regular food items which is a relief to know we’ll have some meals ready to go without a ton of preparation. In an emergency that can put your mind at ease. Anyway, I spoke with the rep that sold us our food storage and if you call him directly, he will give you a 15% discount on any package deal you purchase directly through him (you have to mention Oak Norton). He’ll also give you 1/2 off any shipping charges. You can reach him, Rex Willis, at 480-444-6429 or If you want to check out the packages, you can do so at Daily Bread’s website, but don’t contact them if you want the discount, contact Rex directly. He will email you a current price sheet (prices are going up, in case anyone was in doubt about the economy and inflation…) and if you want to sample the food before buying, just ask him for a sample meal to try out.

KUDOS to ASD’s Board

To the Alpine School District Board,

I know we periodically find ourselves at odds but I am very pleased to find us on the same side in the issue of the Vineyard Urban Redevelopment Agency. I understand that in the recent vote, your position was outvoted by others who would financially benefit by the arrangement. I also understand that taxpayers within the school district will be on the hook for a couple hundred million dollars over the next 35 years. This is the classic case of democratic majority rule where 2 wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner. The rest of the committee appears to benefit by saddling the rest of the district taxpayers with their development. I was quite surprised to hear that the representative from the state office of education didn’t vote with the school district. That seems quite odd and opens up questions into how they arrived at their position.

Short of a successful legal challenge, there may not be a lot that can be done to prevent this injustice. However, I would like to suggest something for your consideration.

Vineyard voted to pass their hundreds of millions of dollars of development costs and developer tax breaks on to the school district taxpayers’ while we continue to pay for their children to be educated. It seems appropriate to return the favor and publicly announce that at your next board meeting you will be discussing the possibility of splitting Vineyard off as a separate school district. This doesn’t have to be a serious consideration, just a warning shot across the bow that help Vineyard realize they’re affecting the lives of many citizens outside their town. Taxation without proportional representation has a downside when others choose to dissociate themselves from them.

The County may have *some* limited responsibility to clean up the site but giving massive tax breaks to the developer after that is entirely inappropriate.

Taxpayers aren’t going to be excited about cleaning up Vineyard, giving massive tax breaks to a developer, and paying for a brand new bond in ASD.  Thank you for standing for fiscal responsibility and not taking important future revenue from the ASD.


Oak Norton, Utah’s Republic

Special thanks to Wendy Hart’s excellent writeup on her blog. Please read it here:

Utah Sound Money Act

Anyone think the economy has gone past the point of no return? What can be done? I think this creative idea is a great solution to help at least partially insulate Utah from the pressures that are going to come upon the nation. The Utah Sound Money legislation has been filed but doesn’t have an announced sponsor yet.

Here is a 30 second trailer for the longer video below which is about 11 minutes. After watching the video, please contact your legislators and ask them to pass the Utah Sound Money Act. You can read the draft legislation here.



Net Neutrality Dangers Explained

Kim Komando to the rescue! I’ve never heard Kim get political and she tries to not get overtly political here, but she does a good job explaining the situation. If you’re unfamiliar with the issue, this is a good introduction.